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Friday, January 18, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: There is calm in the south, but we are not deluding ourselves

Source: Israel Hayom
By Gadi Golan

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak visit Israel Defense Forces base near Gaza border • December was quietest month in southern Israel in the past 12 years • Barak: Calm has held due to heavy blow Hamas received during Operation Pillar of Defense.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak visit Israeli troops near the Gaza Strip border on Wednesday. | Photo credit: Dudu Greenspan

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited an Israel Defense Forces base near the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, less than a week before the coming Knesset election.

During the visit, Netanyahu received an assessment of the Gaza sector in the wake of Israel's eight-day Operation Pillar of Defense in late November.

Netanyahu was accompanied by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Tal Russo.

According to data compiled by Israel's defense establishment, December was the quietest month in southern Israel in the past 12 years.

"I was impressed with the advanced technologies and even more so with our young operators here," Netanyahu said. "The IDF, Israel Security Agency [Shin Bet], and other security forces are doing very important work here. They preserve the calm. The calm has held since Operation Pillar of Defense, but one can't delude oneself. This quiet can be violated at any moment, and the IDF and other security forces are prepared for any scenario.”

"We will do whatever it takes to protect the security of Israeli citizens in this sector and also in other sectors," Netanyahu said.

Barak said, "The calm has held first of all due to the heavy blow Hamas and other terrorist organizations received [during Operation Pillar of Defense], as well as to a certain extent the positive influence of the Egyptians. But more than anything, it has held due to the exceptional work by IDF battalions here."

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